You may find hemorrhoids an embarrassing problem, but the condition is very common, affecting nearly half of all Americans over age 50. In most cases, you can treat your hemorrhoids at home. But if your hemorrhoids aren’t improving with at-home care, or if they’re a recurring problem, you may need medical treatment.
At Midwest Hemorrhoid Treatment Center in Creve Coeur, Missouri, our board-certified physician Dr. Betsy Clemens specializes in the management of hemorrhoids and offers many nonsurgical options, including infrared coagulation (IRC). Because you may not be familiar with the minimally invasive procedure, we wanted to share what you can expect before, during, and after IRC.
The power of infrared light
We offer many treatment options for hemorrhoids that fail to produce relief with your at-home treatment, including surgical and nonsurgical options. IRC is a nonsurgical procedure we use to treat internal hemorrhoids, which are hemorrhoids that form in your anus or lower rectum.
The in-office tool delivers an intense beam of infrared light that Dr. Clemens directs at your hemorrhoid. The heat causes the formation of scar tissue, which cuts off blood supply to your hemorrhoid. Without regular blood supply, the hemorrhoid shrinks and scars over.
With the IRC procedure, we only treat one internal hemorrhoid at a time. However, we can treat any additional hemorrhoids at 10–14 day intervals.
What happens before IRC
In general, there’s nothing special you need to do before your IRC. You don’t need to change your diet or use an over-the-counter enema prior to the in-office procedure. We don’t even need to use anesthesia, so you can drive yourself to and from your appointment.
What happens during IRC
What happens during your IRC may depend on your specific needs. We review the details of your procedure prior to starting to ease your nerves and keep you informed.
To perform your IRC, we have you lie on an exam table on your side. Then, Dr. Clemens applies the infrared light to your hemorrhoid. The procedure itself takes a minute or less. Though you may feel some warmth during your treatment, you shouldn’t feel any pain or discomfort.
What happens after IRC
After your IRC, you can resume your usual activities without any restrictions. You may continue to experience a warm sensation at the site of your treatment, but this side effect usually disappears within an hour. Spotting or mild bleeding may also occur after your IRC. Though results vary, most patients experience complete relief from their hemorrhoids within 7–10 days after the procedure.
Though IRC is a quick and effective treatment for hemorrhoids, it’s not a cure. To minimize your risk of recurrence, we spend a lot of time discussing the lifestyle changes that may help prevent new hemorrhoids from forming, including upping your daily fiber intake, drinking more water, and not sitting on the toilet for prolonged periods of time.
To learn more about IRC and how it may help you get relief from your hemorrhoids, call us at 636-228-3136 or contact us online today.